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Athena funding ends

By Chris Schechter

Faced with budgetary concerns, MIT administrators are now evaluating the future of Project Athena, whose funding ended after eight years on June 30, 1990.

The experimental computer system was initiated in 1982, thanks to grants from IBM and Digital Equipment Corporation. Since then, it has fulfilled most of its goals, said Earllcorrect M. Murman, director of Project Athena and a professor of aeronautics and astronautics.

According to Murman, the network is now heavily used, with 67 percent of all graduate students and 75 percent of undergraduate students currently holding accounts.

Some of the IBM RT workstations have become obsolete, and the problem of financing a future workstation renewal has arisen, Murman said.

Needs have partially been met already with the installation of DECstation 3100s and IBM

PS/2s, but a full-scale phasing out of the older models in favor of more advanced machines is unlikely in the near future, he said.

The destiny of Project Athena is now in the hands of Dean for Undergraduate Education Margaret L. A. MacVicar '65, who is head of the Committee on Academic Computation.

Murman said that MacVicar is considering three alternatives: shutting down a limited number of workstations; changing the mix of hardware by introducing other types of machines, such as Apple Macintosh systems; or finding sufficient funding to maintain the network in its present form.

Faculty, students and staff members await her decision.